There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling you get going over a pothole you didn’t see. No matter what the reason for your misfortune, whether it be the rain, snow, or another vehicle obscured your view; pothole damage to cars can be very serious and should not go unignored.
Here are the top ways potholes can damage your car.
Three Places Potholes Can Damage Cars
After the initial bump and bang as your car scrapes past the hole, you’ll want to get to safe place and assess your vehicle. Pull off the road into a safe place and check your vehicle for the most common signs of damage from potholes.
From there, you’ll be able to decide if your car needs to be serviced immediately by a mechanic.
Check your tires
When looking for pothole damage, you can start with your tires. As the initial point of impact, they can suffer great damage from potholes on roads, especially if they have not been properly inflated. Some tires may even suffer a blowout and you may need to steer to safety.
Some signs you may need to replace the tire include:
- Cracking, which may be exacerbated by hitting a hole, especially on older tires
- Bulging or caving in the tire resulting from impact
- The popping of the tire
Hopefully, your car is in a drivable condition. But, should your tires need to be replaced, pop in the spare tire, and head to the closest mechanic.
Inspect for wheel damage
When you’re in a safe location, you should take time to carefully inspect your vehicle’s wheels. You’ll want to look for damage such as bending and bulges on the tire sidewall and inspect your wheel rims to make sure they are unbent.
Troubleshoot for suspension and alignment problems
Some of the most concerning damage road imperfections like potholes can cause have to do with the suspension and alignment of a vehicle. You’ve probably seen forlorn drivers on the side of the road in winter after hitting a hidden pothole, phone in hand, as they call a tow truck to move their car whose wheel has become completely dislodged.
While suspension and alignment damage might not always look this dramatic, it is still imperative to address these issues as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to your car.
In order to diagnose this type of pothole damage, you will want to pay careful attention to the sounds your car makes when it is on or moving. Creaking, squeaking, and shaking are all signs that your vehicle may have sustained damage to its shocks or struts or that your steering and wheels have been knocked out of alignment. At this point, your vehicle is unsafe to drive, and you should have it towed to a mechanic.
The bottom line.
While the best thing you can do is avoid hitting a rut altogether by practicing defensive driving, it’s crucial to inspect your car after a pothole encounter, both for your safety and the longevity of your vehicle.
In fact, unaddressed damage from potholes to a vehicle can be dangerous for everyone on the road. The best thing to do if you’re unsure whether your ride needs immediate repair is to visit a mechanic you trust and have them conduct an inspection. Once you have the all-clear, you can get back to enjoying the road ahead.